After a very busy and productive 2017, we were ready to apply more balance to our working life.  For those who wanted to see some pictures of our vacation in Kauai, here goes.  We had such an outpouring of good will when we announced our plans, we just had to share some of what we did.  Patients were truly happy for us and would tell us their favorite restaurant, beach or activity.  Some drew us maps of a secret hideaway beach.  One patient even gifted us his timeshare for our stay.  We were really touched by this.  This is not the type of thing that happens everyday
The comments were virtually unanimous, “You’re going to love it there.  It is one of the most beautiful places on the planet.”  We were not disappointed.  Besides being dramatic in its beauty, Kauai is one of the wettest places on earth, with waterfalls that pour down year round.  Its beaches are amazing and the Napali Coast is like no other place I’ve seen (especially since we saw it from a helicopter!).

The Beaches

Kauai has beautiful beaches.  If you just want to get away, relax. walk or snorkel all are possible within a short drive.  The favorite beaches we found were mostly on the north shore:

Ha’ena Beach is at the end of the road.  If you want to see a great sunset and the Napali coast at the same time this is a must. Nice walking beach as well.  More on this below.

Secret Beach is a short walk but worth it as it has dramatic rock formations, cliffs, waves and a view of the lighthouse.

Tunnels beach was one of our favorites, as it is long enough to walk and the reefs close to the shore make for great snorkeling.  The beauty and variety of the fish we saw in Kauai were amazing.

Anini Beach is another beach worth mentioning.  It has good snorkeling, as there is an outside reef keeping most of the waves out.

Larsen beach is quite a hike in but fairly unused and deserted because of it.  If you like to be alone this is the place for you.

There were others of course but these were among our favorites.  Another favorite is the fabulous beach at Hanalei Bay.  Great for walking, but it is usually more crowded.

The Sunsets

The atmospheric color in Kauai is something special.  There is a pastel and pink/purple hue to the sky, clouds and landscape I have never seen before.  Some artists are able to capture this quality in their paintings, but you have to be there to really experience it.

As the sun goes down this color palette is even more dramatic and unusual.  One of the best places I found to view sunsets was at Ha’ena beach at the end of the road on the north shore.  This is because the sun was setting over the water.  You also got to see the Napali coast at the same time. Can you imagine being here to see this?

The Flowers

We were there in January and the flowers, especially the orchids, were still blooming.  Where else can you see orchids in the wild and not in greenhouses?  What I didn’t know is that orchids don’t really need soil to grow.  They literally grow on trees.

The Gardens

If you like gardens, Kauai is a great place to be.  First of all the whole island is known as ‘The Garden Island.’  Second there are people who have dedicated themselves to preserving the native and  indigenous plant populations before they are lost forever.  There are some very special gardens in Kauai and most are a labor of love.  Many highlight the canoe plants that were originally brought over by the Polynesians 2,000 years ago.  Some are nonprofits dedicated to research.

Here are the best gardens we saw while in Kauai:

Allerton and McBryde Gardens – These gardens are amazing.  They are separate gardens on the south shore run by the same nonprofit.  They are right next to each other but need to be visited and paid for separately.  Basically, you would need to spend half a day at each of them to do them justice.  Above the gardens there is a research facility studying the endemic plants of Hawaii.
One of the plants they are studying is a tree that bears a very unusual fruit called breadfruit.  You treat breadfruit like you would a potato.  Yes, it’s starchy but the unusual thing about it is that it has over 40% protein.  What the McBryde Institute does  is plant breadfruit trees in 3rd world countries in the Caribbean and Africa.  If you want to read more about the McBryde Institute you can go here. Here are all the tours offered through the Institute.
Two other gardens worth mentioning are both on the north side of the island.  Limahuli is near the end of the road in the Ha’ena State Park area. They highlight canoe and indigenous plants of Hawaii.  The other is the Princeville Botanical Gardens,  created by a couple who fell in love with Kauai and wanted to preserve some of its heritage.  They also have a lecture on chocolate making and offer a wide variety of samples.

Hiking

Kauai is a hikers paradise, if you don’t mind some mud on your shoes.  It’s a pretty wild place when you look at it, and there are hiking trails everywhere.  Does anyone recognize this mountain from a Hollywood movie from the late 50’s?  It is Bali Hai, called Makana by the locals, which means ‘Gift from Heaven.’  It was popularized in the famous movie South Pacific.  We saw where the movie was filmed on the helicopter ride.

Waterfalls

The other thing about Kauai are the waterfalls.  There are more waterfalls in Kauai than anywhere I’ve seen.  That’s because there is more rain in Kauai than just about anywhere on earth.

A Temple

We stumbled on upon a unique Hindu temple in the hills of the south side above Kapaa.  On the lush, tropical grounds, the devotees have created a majestic testimony to their faith.   Victoria and I appreciate devotion wherever we find it and in whatever form it presents itself.  This is the spirit which we try to bring to the dental practice and to our daily lives.  Holistic means whole and we find that balance is important not only for our health but to our happiness and peace of mind.  Dentistry takes a certain amount of devotion to do well.  That is the only way I have been able to do it and enjoy it over the 30+ years I’ve been practicing.

Aloha from Dr O and Victoria

We would like to thank all the people who wished us well and encouraged us to go on our vacation.  It is deeply appreciated and we were touched by the outpouring of good will.  We are blessed to have to type of relationship with our patients that we have.  We set up the practice so that this would be possible, and we are very fortunate.  Going to Kauai forced us to slow down and reboot, and now we are ready to start 2018 renewed and refreshed.

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